By the turn of century I had a huge collection of local CAMRA pub guides, accumulated by weekly trips to CAMRA HQ when I worked (some would dispute that) down near St Albans. After several failed attempts to get shot of them, they got dumped before we moved Up North*.
At its peak, my collection spanned the UK, from Guernsey to Gwynedd, from to Grimsby to Greater Aberdeen. But the North-East remained a notable gap, bar an on-line guide to the delights of Sunderland pubs not destroyed by an undergraduate BRAPA (what a terrifying thought).
Alastair’s package arrived 2 days later, which just shows that some parts of the Royal Mail are moving quicker than they are here in Sheffield. I owe him a couple of pints of Federation, or whatever BBB they drink up there in the Toon.
Plenty of blog material, so let’s start at the beginning.
1978. Archie Gemmill, Boney M, Blyth Spartans, the first CAMRA Guide to the North East.
All beer was dispensed into pewter tankards to punters who looked like Alan Shoulder.
And pub tickers could still turn up on a weekday lunchtime and know they’ll get served.
Note the special allowances for folk in Hexhamshire, their reward for being rich and well-behaved.
Obviously the Guide only contains a fraction of North-Eastern pubs, with most of them resolutely keg, but thanks to small brewers like (checks notes) Bass and Camerons.
I’ll drip-feed you gems for the Guide, and show you what some of the pubs look like 40 odd years on.
Let’s Start in Stockton, home of the Parmo and 17% of the North-Eastern micros, and an unlikely real ale mecca back in ’78.
Oooh, which pub to pick. Tough one.
The Sun Inn. A “popular town centre drinking house just behind the High Street“, then as now. Perhaps with more Carling than Bass drunk, and with more Shearer on TVs on walls, but otherwise has it changed much ?
*Obviously I held onto “Crawling Carluke in Cask and Craft ’94“.